Ah, we parents don’t have to get up and rush the kids off to school. Carpools are over except for afternoon sports. We can finally rest!
What — you mean the kids are still here? Maybe we’ve got more than we bargained for.
Almost every parent shares the mixed feelings of relief that homework assistance is over yet mild panic that there are centuries of wide gaping hours to fill during the summer days.
Combine Both Scheduled and Free Times
The days go by so fast at first, with family members relishing the feeling of catching up on things they all want to do. Then at some point, things slow down. This might signal the need for the rhythm of a schedule. Although there are many hobby, sports, recreation, learning, and other activities, be sure to leave some time for the children to fill on their own.
A vital part of becoming a separate person is making your own choices about what to do, and then making it happen. It would be well to remember that too much scheduled time blocks a child’s natural development of these self skills.
Be More Than a Gift Horse
In addition, some thought might be given to the prizes or awards parents dole out to their kids on teams or at home during the summer activities. The greatest gift you can offer is pride and attention which empower the child. Offering disproportionate gifts may thrill the adults involved, but do only harm to the receiver.
Brag but don’t encourage dependency. Encourage your offspring to pat themselves on the back. After all, who will always be there for them? The parent or loved ones can’t, but the young person can learn to always be present and supporting of himself or herself. Being codependent can and will backfire. So it’s an investment in the future to empower your child.
Don’t Make Summer a Bummer
It is OK for your kids to be mad at you now and then, so keep your focus on making memories. Find things to do together and have fun while enjoying their companionship. Accept that your kids might err, so don’t get stuck in the potholes of a bad moment or day. Avoid getting caught up in a blame thing when life doesn’t go according to your script. There are fine moments to be had, so stay in the present and keep stress levels low.
Keep in mind that even in the summer, your children will have feelings of their own. Empower those expressions of individuality. Don’t tromp on negative feelings–one’s truth and revelation is often found there. Accept and be willing to participate in discussions, but remember to listen more than you talk.
Have fun this summer and make memories to cherish through the years.
Copyright 2013 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.